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you saying that the Onrec awards aren't the answer then?


Matt Alder

Sinead I couldn't agree with you more. I think the issue is actually easily addressed logistical but much more difficult for some people to take on board conceptually. Logistically if the RADS are all about creativity then they should market themselves as just that. Whether that's the award ceremony as a whole or individual categories it doesn't really matter. Creativity (in old sense of the word) is certainly something to be celebrated and certainly should get its time in the limelight. Equally though, clever media planning and results orientated accountable strategies (did I really just invent that phrase!!) should also get the recognition they deserve. It happens in the product marketing world so why shouldn't recruitment be the same.

All sounds simple so far doesn't it?

Well here is the problem. The majority of agencies in our space don't measure results properly (see my earlier post "The next big thing...") or bother about accountability, either because they don't know how or if they do I can only presume they are scared to admit it. For someone who has grown up in digital media I just can't get my head round this and I'm very glad I work for an agency for whom measurement is key. Perhaps at the end of the day it's a chicken and egg scenario.......if people start giving awards for strategic, measurable media planning then maybe they will be a rush of agencies adopting new practices in order to get a gong!

Whatever happens the market has changed and it's awards need to reflect that change if they want to stay relevant

John Salt

Are you saying that the RADS should stand for "Really Awful Decisions on Spend" then?

Couldn't agree more with your thoughts on having awards that champion media planning and delivery of results.

This blog raises several interesting points, in addition to thoughts on The RADS - and the CIPD awards/Onrec etc - regarding the jobs 'widget' that could be placed on anyones blog/website; absolutely the UK should have one, preferably many so you have a choice. As a minimum that should allow you to search for all jobs from a job board/client, and increasingly will need to serve up relevant jobs by location/skill/sector in context with the editorial/discussion - who kwows maybe a UK job board has one on the way?

In terms of independent research, measurement and tracking of results this is long overdue - are you all saying that NORAS doesn't do it for you? What should it be, who should commission it, how often and to what end?

Congratulations on this blog - great to see one for this industry, great to see your views and frustrations - see you at the RADS......


You make a good point, well quite a few of them, however you got any ideas about how you could measure the success in any such awards? I kinda get your beef with the awards celebrating “creativity” then claiming to recognise the “brightest people and the best recruitment marketing”, but I don’t think there’s an awards ceremony put on anywhere in the world that could be called modest in its self-promotion.

Over the years I’m sure we’ve all witnessed some plain and downright crap ads held up best in class creatively, and when you add to that those the ads that have been misrepresented (posters that are suddenly entered as adverts or quarter pages that suddenly become full page colours) as well as the plethora of ads placed by agencies that we know generated bugger all response but are placed as “award hopefuls” – there are enough issues to be taken with the creative evaluation process of such awards.

I personally hate the way that there’s so little integrity in the evaluation of these things – a great ad in the product advertising world will win time and time again, but when it comes to judging in our industry there seems to be huge discrepancy from awards to awards. Creativity is of course highly subjective, but in an industry of professionals there should be more consistency of subjectivity? I wonder if such awards should be evaluated by Industry Peers alone? Still – at least they’re trying and have more integrity than the likes of the ONREC “how many tickets can I sell?” awards.

So if the RADs (and to a lesser degree probably the CIPDs) stop pretending to be a reflection of the b-all and end-all of recruitment advertising and accept that whilst creativity can be glorious there’s some more fundamental work that goes on behind the scenes that should at least be acknowledged, then that’ll be a significant improvement. However, I have to admit to being at a loss as to how exactly you feel we’d evaluate and recognise excellence in media planning.

Would it be best planned campaign for a £10k / £15k / £25k+ media spend? And is the judging criteria then the response figures? How can that be fair – Google or Microsoft could probably recruit a team of web developers for £1,536.57, whereas, I dunno, Rentakill based in Rotherham (I have no idea whether they are or not) would have to spend considerably more to get on the radar of potential developers, let alone convince them that toilets and rat catching is a sexy line of web development to further their career in. I really have no idea.

Just like everything else, award ceremonies that purport to represent our industry have to move beyond yesterdays ad in a paper environment. Best Website is of course a no-brainer step in the right direction (albeit a contentious one – nowhere is “form vs. function” being more tested), but I never get Best Innovation (maybe I’ll be enlightened and enthused this year)? To my mind Best Campaign has to come with a central web / digital element as a pre-requisite in this digital age, but perhaps now is the time for a statistics based award if the RADs really are about all that is good and great in recruitment advertising.

I have a feeling that the CIPD (as you’d hopefully expect) are edging the “Integrity” stakes in rec ad awards land, so maybe this is the platform where you explain how you can best (and fairly) evaluate creativity in planning and compare something that recruits 50 engineers to another campaign that recruits 25 Physicists or 105 Sales People.

You also have to bear in mind one important thing – you and Matt (and a couple of others) – you’re out there. I know a thing or two about Online / Digital recruitment, may even give you a run for your money in regards to some elements, but TMP, and, since your recent moves, Mediacom & Barkers respectively, are the exception rather than the rule. You are the Statistical / Accountability Pioneers in our space. Some of the rest of us are trying to get to grips with it all, many (maybe most) are either playing Ostrich or too busy doing what they have done for the past 15+years to even start to have a clue what your blithering on about.

As an industry we need evangelists such as you guys, just bear with us whilst the rest of us mortals get our heads around something you’ve spent 4years locked in a TMP cupboard doing – and doing with some impressive online advertising budgets from some clearly visionary clients.



Alex - I take your point in some ways but the measurable way of doing these things has been around for over 8 years now and I'm still amazed more people don't utilise it. Its got nothing to do with type of client or budget either I promise you. Oh and it was a basement not a cupboard ;-)

John - Welcome to the blog and thanks for your comments. If you guys are building a widget we'd gladly host one. In terms of NORAS and alternatives I suspect that will be a post of its own when the results come out shortly but in the meantime a quick 30 secs on why it doesn't work for me

1) I can't take anything to be truely independent that is published by a competitor

2) It doesn't really tell me what I need to know for media planning purposes

3) I get very bored of all the "we're number one" press releases from the sites that have no relation to whether they are going to be effective for my clients or not. Whether thats we're number one in the whole wide world from the generic sites or we have the biggest audience of mechanical engineers on the Isle of Skye from the niche sites


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